What responsibilities -if any- does an artist have when they create a piece of art work?

When a mother gives birth to her child, it is her responsibility to look after her child until it is of a mature age- that is, when it attains the ability to sustain socially and economically in a society. A piece of artwork is a baby. In the same sense, an artist, like a mother, is ethically liable to take into consideration the consequences of his or her piece of artwork before producing it, since an artwork is something that is intentional. However, because artwork produced by well known artists have such a large influence in the community, particularly through various means of media, the responsibility of artists may even exceed that of a mother. Specifically, one of the largest responsibilities of an artist when producing artwork is targeting a specific an audience. Many films are rated ‘R’ for a reason- that it is not socially appropriate for the young to withstand graphic scenes of such violence or sexual nature. Yet artists continue to produce these films, as they target a mature audience. Artists are also responsible for their intention for or the message of their artwork. Though it is up to the audience to interpret whatever message may be presented by the art, an artist’s personal input always has an affect on his or her audience, as with intention always comes a desired message. An extreme would be Nazi propaganda posters, which openly portrayed all Jews as evil, greedy characters, and thus, further fueled public support for the genocide. Artists, however are not responsible for the actions of the audience and whatever they choose to do with the message portrayed in the art. Indeed, many may claim that an artwork greatly accredited to a particular event, just as a correlation does not equal to a relationship. The audience are also expected of responsibilities in interpreting the piece of artwork, in making sensible decisions in what action to take with the message. Returning to the issue that is still largely debated amongst many, the Columbine High School Massacre. The teens who committed the killings were reported to have committed the act out of their hatred for society. Though many of Marilyn Manson’s songs evoked such themes, what actions Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold made a conscious decision of taking, can neither be ethically or legally linked to Manson’s music.


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